"Leg Training Variety: Single-leg
"The Value of Supersets"
- VARIETY FOR LEG TRAINING
some more single-leg exercises. Most trainees do ample single-arm
work BUT/ neglect to train the legs in a similar manner. These
exercises will help reduce strength differences while increasing
agility and balance plus stimulating muscle growth!
an exaggerated step forward with the right leg. Squat down
until the right leg makes a 90-degree angle between the upper
thigh and lower leg. The trailing (left) knee should be 5cm
above the ground. Make sure to keep both legs straight and
in natural alignment.
the lead (right) leg to push off to return to the starting
position. I suggest doing all repetitions with one leg, take
a short rest, and then perform all repetitions for the other
leg. This ensures complete muscle fatigue in the working leg.
As well, working in an alternate leg manner may promote greater
levels of overall fatigue and may compromise the performance
of the exercise.
this exercise using no weight. After you have mastered the
exercise technique and feel comfortable with the balance and
agility required in the exercise, hold light dumbbells in
each hand at thigh level to increase the difficulty of the
exercise. Always perform the exercise with complete control.
LUNGE ONTO STEP
exercise puts a greater stress on the quadriceps in comparison
to the flat forward lunge. In this exercise, lunge (step forward)
onto an elevation (a box OR step) 6-8 inches high, otherwise,
perform the exercise as described for the flat forward lunge.
LYING SINGLE-LEG HAMSTRING CURL
face down on a leg curl bench with the heel pad roller resting
on the back of the leg at ankle level. Use a light resistance
and curl the pad to the buttocks using only one leg. Make
sure the hips stay in contact with the bench and slowly lower
the pad to the starting position.
not fully straighten the leg (hyperextend) at the bottom position.
Also, take great care not to twist the lower back at the top
of the movement. Eliminate all twisting and momentum from
the exercise. Always use a weight that can be lifted perfectly
through the complete range of motion.
on an elevation (step) and grasp a railing for support. Use
the body weight as resistance only (or hold a light dumbbell
at thigh level in hand). Perform a single-leg calf raise by
dropping the heel as far as possible off the step ledge and
then raise up as high as possible on the toes for the greatest
benefits of this exercise.
our purposes here, a superset is the completion of consecutive
sets without a rest. The sets can be for exercises of the
same, opposite or completely unrelated muscle groups. When
performing supersets for opposing or unrelated muscle groups,
there is an opportunity for one muscle to recover while another
is worked, therefore allowing a heavy weight to be used for
minimal rest is prescribed, try to arrange for exercises that
can be performed within a close proximity of one another (i.e.
a flat DB press and a One-arm DB row). Training opposing muscle
groups in this manner ensures the development of balanced
muscular strength. You can design an entire workout using
multiple supersets OR you can add a superset at any point
in the workout (i.e. such as the transition from chest to
example of opposing muscle groups is the chest & back.
Pick a back exercise that pulls the arms into the torso (a
row) and balance that with an exercise that pushes away from
the torso (flat DB press). You can also use supersets for
the anterior and posterior heads of the deltoids (shoulders)
which somewhat oppose one another.
example exercise combination would be a front DB raise followed
by a bent-over DB raise. Muscles of shoulder extension (lats)
can be super-setted with the antagonistic shoulder flexors
(deltoids) using a pulldown-shoulder press combination. And
finally, for the ultimate arm superset, choose one triceps
exercise and follow it with an exercise for biceps.
can also be performed using 2 successive exercises for the
same bodypart. This has been referred to as "pre-exhaustion",
where an isolation exercise is performed for a muscle group
(i.e. a DB fly for the chest) followed by a compound exercise
for the same muscle group (i.e. a bench press). The second
exercise will be performed using a lighter weight than is
normally used because the muscle group will have been previously
second superset method for the same muscle group is referred
to as "drop-setting". In this technique, a set of
an exercise is performed to failure at which time the trainee
reduces the weight and performs subsequent repetitions with
the lighter weight.
note on "drop-sets" and "muscle pumps"...
the development of maximal strength OR size is your goal,
these techniques are not mandatory for success. Let me explain:
a muscle "pump" is simply the result of blood and
tissue fluid being forced into the muscle from the surrounding
vessels and then accumulating within the muscle. While an
increased blood flow to the area is beneficial, the pump lasts
only for a short time (30-60 minutes). Unfortunately, this
is too short of a time period to result in any significant
physiological changes to the muscle, as growth and repair
occur over a 24 to 48 hour (or more) time period following
we should not focus our training time on achieving this "pump",
although with training of the proper intensity, it will occur
regardless. Most individuals desire the pump and if they do
not achieve it, they feel as if the workout has been poor,
however this is not the case. It is much more important to
train at a proper intensity and with proper technique.
"drop-set" method will not be effective if the training
goal is maximal size and strength. While decreasing the weight
to allow for more repetitions may provide a "burning"
sensation within the muscle, the actual stimulus on the muscle
fibers will be much less in comparison to a "regular"
set (performed after a sufficient recovery interval).
physiologists agree that muscle appears to grow in response
to a stress of sufficient intensity and duration. Therefore,
by sticking to heavier weights and adequate rest intervals,
the trainee can apply a greater stress in comparison to the
"drop-sets" technique. The lighter weights used
in a superset probably do not optimally stimulate the muscle
at the level necessary to produce growth and strength adaptations
in the muscle fibers.
the use of "drop-sets" may be detrimental in the
effects that this technique has on energy reserves. The "drop-set"
technique may rob the trainee of valuable energy that would
be better spent in the performance of a regular set (a set
at a higher intensity). Secondly, the "drop-set"
technique may require additional calories to fuel the contractions,
and this may then require a greater caloric intake on the
part of the trainee in order to gain muscle mass, although
this may not be significant. One thing in the favor of drop-sets
is time efficiency because you can get a lot done in a very
the drop-set method does not appear optimal for acquiring
both strength and size. You are best off to keep your training
techniques plain and simple (heavy weights, moderate repetitions),
unless a plateau in performance suggests otherwise. Overcoming
a plateau may require more advanced techniques and program
design that should be based solely on the individual, not
through general recommendations.